Retro Period – Late 30s-1940s
In 1937 the International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques in Modern Life was held in Paris, and on display were jewels designed with bright gemstones and motifs—scrolls, volutes, flowers, animals—that we associate with the fabulous Retro period. In 1939, The Great Depression ended and WW II began. After the war, things began to boom in every way— from babies to beautiful jewelry.
Influences/Advancements of the Era
During the war, the rationing of precious metals and fabric influenced fashion and jewelry design.
Due to the decreased flow of precious gemstones from Africa, India, and Burma during the war, jewelers used what rubies, emeralds, and sapphires that they did have in creative ways, and sometimes used synthetic and faux substitutions.
Citrine, amethyst, topaz, moonstone, and aquamarine were favored gemstones and were used as focal stones, often in very large sizes with precious stones as accents. Rubies and diamonds with aquamarines or moonstones were characteristic pairings.
Van Cleef and Arpel’s unique setting was perfected in 1935. Stones in a myriad of shapes were precisely cut to fit a lattice-type backing that was used to fill spaces on a piece, creating a seamless surface of glimmering gems.
Also called “gas pipe” or “tubogas,” this chain was formed from a pair of interlocking gold strips wrapped tightly together, creating a flexible and hollow tubular chain that requires no soldering.
Big, bold, wonderful and whimsical—Retro jewelry was both playful and ultra-glamorous. Cocktail rings with enormous juicy gems, power cuff bracelets, and gleaming, expansive brooches accented with precious stones added fabulous flair to the fashion of the era. Fanciful jewels from menageries of gem-studded critters to comical clowns, to graceful ballerinas brought a delightful touch to any ensemble, while neck-nestling gas pipe, bib, and diamonds necklaces graced the décolletage. And if one wore nothing else, the swirling, dimensional
earrings, sparkling with bright diamonds and gleaming with vibrant colored stones would have been enough.
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Aquamarine and Sapphire Retro Earrings
A rare and striking color combination in vintage Retro earrings. Rendered in gleaming, mirror-like rose gold, the spiral design is centered with a lozenge shape…SHOP AT LANG
Retro No-Heat Burmese Ruby and Diamond Bracelet
Gold, bold, and beautiful from the 1940s-50s! Double undulating serpentine bracelets border a central row of five sizable cabochon rubies, together weighing 30…SHOP AT LANG
Retro Aquamarine and Diamond Necklace
A glistening plume composed of three bright crystalline sky blue pear shape aquamarines crowns a trio of dancing diamond-tipped tassels in this singular and stu…SHOP AT LANG